I have just finished reading Andy Stanley’s new book and I highly recommend it to you!
So often, in making decisions, we either ask no questions or the wrong questions or mediocre questions and as a result we later regret decisions we have made.
Question 1: Am I being honest with myself, really?
Who is the hardest person in the world for you to lead? Might your answer be, like mine, the person in your mirror! There are times we have made decisions – knowing that the decision we were making was not only wrong, but actually lacking in truth! We overroad that check in our spirit with thoughts like, “I deserve this!” or “This just feels like a good decision” only to later be faced with the predictable result that we should have listened to that “still small voice” within us that told us in advance, “You will regret this later if you do this now!”
Question 2: What story do I want to tell?
Andy shares that the decisions we make today will be the stories was have to tell tomorrow. Personally, I had never before put together: “decisions today” = “stories we tell tomorrow.” Good decisions today mean that we will have good stories to tell tomorrow. Poor decisions today mean that we will have stories that we will not want to tell tomorrow. You may recall the story in the scriptures where Joseph’s brothers made a decision to sell Joseph to slave traders and then told their dad, Jacob, that Joseph had been killed by wild animals. That was the story – actually the lie that they had to maintain thereafter. I am guessing when they made that decision to sell Joseph they had no understanding that their decision would be the story – the lie that they would have to continue to tell year after year after year!
Question 3: Is there a tension that needs my attention?
Are there times that the decision you are about to make seems good and reasonable on paper? All the “T’s” have been crossed and all of the “I’s” dotted – but you just have that feeling in your gut that something just does not feel right? Or maybe it’s your spouse or colleague who has that feeling. This can be a good time to just put the decision on hold. A few more days or even weeks, will likely provide you with clarity!
Question 4: What is the wise thing to do?
Andy shares that growing up whenever he asked his dad what he should do, instead of telling Andy what to do, his dad would ask Andy, “What is the wise thing to do?” I absolutely love this question. Often when we ask “What is right or wrong?” we are often wanting to know how close to “wrong” we can get and still be on the “right” side or even how much over the line can we go and still be ok? In other words, how close to the edge of the cliff with a 2000 foot drop can we walk and not fall off? But when we ask, “What is the wise thing to do?” we know the wise thing is not to even get close to the edge of the cliff!
Question 5: What does love require of me?
Andy shares the new command that Jesus gave, “As I have loved you, love one another.” It is easy for us to love those who love us back! But the scriptures say that while we were yet sinners, Jesus loved us! Jesus loved us so much that He even died for us and not just any death – but a death by crucifixion. Will your decision serve others?
Andy’s 5 questions are not only great questions to ask yourself – but they are great questions for parents to ask their kids and for grandparents to ask their grandkids and for leaders to ask their staff and for coaches to ask those they are coaching!
1. The Integrity Question: Am I being honest with myself, really?
Decision #1: I will not lie to myself even the truth makes me feel bad about myself.
2. The Legacy Question: What story do I want to tell?
Decision #2: I will write a story I’m proud to tell one decision at a time.
3. The Conscience Question: Is there a tension that needs my attention?
Decision #3: I will explore rather than ignore my conscience.
4. The Maturity Question: What is the wise thing to do?
Decision #4: I will take the past, present, and future into consideration
5. The Relationship Question: What does love require of me?
Decision #5: I will decide with the interests of others in mind.
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